Tag Archives: Publishing

Day 25: Small Press Advent Calendar: CINNAMON PRESS

day 25This will be the last post in this 2012 Small Press Advent Calendar, and so I’d like to thank you for following, sharing, and most importantly, buying the books. Without you buying books, these fantastic, quirky, and sometimes life-changing, independent publishing houses would not be able to operate. So, without further ado, behind door 25, is…

‘Above the Forests’ by Ruth Bidgood, Published by Cinnamon Press

Cinnamon Press is a small, independent publisher run by a family team. They publish fiction, poetry and selective non fiction books, choosing not by genre, but by selecting works they feel passionate about, writing that is thought provoking and says something new.

Based in North Wales, they aim to include a significant list of Welsh writing in English amongst their titles, and their other authors come from a wide range of places from South Africa to New Zealand, America to China, the rest of the UK, and more.

They also run Envoi poetry magazine, which is now in its 53rd year, and a number of competitions.

cinnamon_-_above_the_forests_resized_‘Above the Forests’ by Ruth Bidgood, is a collection of poems in which the lie of Welsh land, local and family history, social pressures, the promptings of dream and of scientific speculation are all evoked, serving to draw the reader, often literally step by step, into processes of questioning, self-questioning and an intuitive crossing of boundaries.

At 90 years of age, Ruth’s voice remains effortlessly precise: the thought and language in the poems comes across razor sharp, and with ‘a lyricism that pushes at the boundaries of life.’ [-GWales]

“These are daring poems… Above the Forest combines deep feeling with keen intelligence.” – Anne Cluysenaar

‘Above the Forests’ is available to buy now via Inpress Books for £7.99.

[Day 25 on the Poetry Advent Calendar is ‘Eleven pm, 25th December’ by Charlotte Wetton. Do carry on visiting the site daily for the rest of their calendar, which carries on until Dec 31st!]

Merry Christmas!!

 

Day 24: Small Press Advent Calendar: HAPPENSTANCE

day 24The book behind the 24th door of the advent calendar reminds me of the underbelly of Christmas time; those moments you have as a child when you’re not really sure what’s going on, but you just know somehow that things are not as they should be.

‘Giant in the Doorway’ by Marion Tracy, Published by HappenStance

HappenStance is an independent publisher based in Scotland that specialises in poetry pamphlets. In addition to publishing, they review chapbooks and provide information about pamphlet publishing in general, mostly via their sister site Sphinx. They also operate an interesting subscription scheme that is worth looking into:

For just £7.50 pa, you receive:

– 1 free publication of your choice.
– The latest chapter of The HappenStance Story.
– Information about each new publication (snail mail).
– News about press activities during the year.
– 25% off the cover price of each publication.
– A free PoemCard with every order:
– Feedback on up to twelve poems of your own, if sent during reading ‘windows’.

Find out more information and/or subscribe HERE.

‘Giant in the Doorway’ by Marion Tracy is a collection of poems that begins with an evocative account of one day and night in a holiday cottage, from the point of view of a child struggling to make sense of her mother’s psychiatric illness. The subsequent poems extend the narrative through a mature (but no less emotive) reflection on the mother’s life, death and legacy.

Here’s a taster poem, as featured on the HappenStance site:

Giant in the Doorway   Marion TracyGiant in the doorway

10.

I’m in the double bed next to judith
lennie is asleep in the cot moon lays down
a clean bandage onto the floor I can hear

the sea singing with my mother
their voices mutter and shout
and dip and scream together below

and outside I know the word mad
but when I ask judith what’s wrong
with mummy exactly and judith says

she can’t spell it or pronounce it I know
judith doesn’t want to talk about it
I shouldn’t talk about it

Buy ‘Giant in the Doorway’ direct from HappenStance now for £4.00.

[Day 24 on the Poetry Advent Calendar is ‘You are Not’ by Nathan Lunt]

Day 23: Small Press Advent Calendar: POETRY TRANSLATION CENTRE

day 23Next up is a publisher that focuses solely on the, sometimes contentions, subject of poetry in translation. Their explanation for doing this reminded me why translating poetry, although difficult, is a very important thing to do. Door 24 features…

‘Poems’ by Azita Ghahreman, Published by Poetry Translation Centre

The Poetry Translation Centre, established by the poet Sarah Maguire in 2004, translates contemporary poetry from Africa, Asia and Latin America to a high literary standard. They believe that:

“Poetry thrives on translation: it’s impossible to imagine English poetry without it. From Chaucer, via Wyatt, Dryden and Pope, to Ezra Pound’s Cathay, translation has been its life-blood.

But English poetry has yet to engage with the rich poetic traditions of the many languages now spoken in the UK; for Islamic communities in particular, poetry is a particularly significant art form. Our work aims to redress that deficiency.

By making their poetry at home in English, we aim to celebrate the cultures of communities that are frequently neglected and abused in the UK, inviting them to play a vital role in British cultural life.”

Poems‘ by Azita Ghahreman, trans. byMaura Dooley & Elhum Shakerifar, is an introductory collection of Azita’s work, and features her poems in the Farsi language they were written in, with the translated English version alongside.

poemsAzita Ghahreman, born in Mashhad in 1962, is one of Iran’s leading poets. She has published four collections of poetry: Eve’s Songs (1983), Sculptures of Autumn (1986), Forgetfulness is a Simple Ritual (1992) and The Suburb of Crows (2008), a collection reflecting on he exile in Sweden (where she has lived since 2006).

Her poems directly address questions of female desire and challenge the accepted position of women.

If you are intrigued, you can buy the book direct from the Poetry Translation Centre for £4.00.

If you’d like to try before you buy, you can actually just download yourself a free pdf from the same site. Can’t be bad!

[Day 23 on the Poetry Advent Calendar is ‘That time we said we’d be back on the 23rd’ by Stephanie Chan]

Day 22: Small Press Advent Calendar: SMITH/DOORSTOP

day 22Behind Door 22 we turn once again to one of the more established publishers on this list, to find…

‘Otherwhere’ by Catherine Smith, Published by Smith/Doorstop Books

Smith/Doorstop is the imprint under which The Poetry Business publishes its books, pamphlets, audio and ebooks. Described by The Independent as a “small but enterprising publisher talent-spotting marvellous new poets”, their poets have won or been shortlisted for almost every major poetry prize, including the Forward Prize on 11 occasions and 10 Poetry Book Society awards.

The Poetry Business operates on the basis of four priorities:

  • The spreading of interest in contemporary poetry
  • The encouragement of new writers
  • The publishing of work of new and established writers
  • The setting of high artistic standard

smith_doorstop_-_otherwhere‘Otherwhere’ by Catherine Smith is described as “recklessly wise writing”, which romps through such themes as the spaghetti harvest and the drought of 1976, vegetarian hangovers, horse-racing, teenage girls inhaling helium and cats brought in a case through customs.

There are a number of short, tantalising reviews on both the Smith/Doorstop and Inpress websites, a couple of which I’ll post below, or you can get more of a taste for the book by heading over to The Poetry Shed where you can read ‘The Spaghetti Harvest‘ in full.

“Her scary, unsettling voice seems unexpected in poetry, and cuts her free of the crowd.” – The Times

“Catherine Smith’s poems are at once visceral and delicate. The mythical seeps through the tang and stench of the everyday and asserts itself, triumphant and strange.” – Sasha Dugdale

You can buy ‘Otherwhere’ now direct from The Poetry Business for £9.95.

[Day 22 on the Poetry Advent Calendar is ‘Walking to Snowfall’ by Vivien Foster.]

 

Day 21: Small Press Advent Calendar: HOLDFIRE PRESS

day 21It is now too late to order for delivery before Christmas, but this advent calendar continues so that you will know what to spend your book tokens on! Day 21 brings you…

‘The Necropolis Boat’ by Luke Kennard, Published by Holdfire Press

Holdfire Press is a new, small publisher based in Liverpool.  Their first 8 pamphlets were released in May 2012, and they aim to continue to publish pamphlets and also full collections by emerging UK poets.

‘The Necropolis Boat’ by Luke Kennard was selected by the Poetry Book Society as their Autumn Pamphlet Choice, which makes it even more surprising then that there there seem to be no descriptions of this intriguing 28-page mystery on the internet (nb. I’ve not searched the whole internet, but little is forthcoming). But as I’m a massive fan of Luke’s work in general, I’m sure he’s a great introduction to Holdfire.

We do get a bit of info about this pamphlet though on Luke’s blog, Planet-Shaped Horse. He writes:

Necropolis boat“My pamphlet, The Necropolis Boat, takes place within one of the lines of a poem from Planet-Shaped Horse, so could be considered a sequel or prequel or whatever you call a follow-up sequence the narrative of which occurs within one of the lines from the preceding work. A nested sequel, is what I’m going to call it, I think. But you don’t have to have read PSH to enjoy it! It stands alone! Like a man! On a jetty! On his own!
 
I hate the word jetty. I could have said anywhere and I went with jetty.”

 

For those of you not familiar with his work, here’s a short intro to him and poem lifted from the Poem a Month website (check them out!):

“Luke’s writing reflects his own personal interest in mental health and the way society perceives it, often using humour in his poems.”

The following poem, ‘Chorus’, is a poem from his second collection The Harbour Beyond the Movie. Luke gives us this insight:

harbour meyond the movie“I wrote it about seven years ago, at a time when I was writing these little fourteen-line anti-sonnets which explore a single tragi-comical scene. I wrote over a hundred and my editor selected ten to go in the middle section of the book. The other ninety were terrible. This one I wrote for a close friend who was going through a particularly nasty spell of clinical depression.”

CHORUS

The choir hadn’t left him alone since the first day of summer;
He awoke to find them stationed around his bed.

One day the choir arrived without warning or explanation,
Sang the choir in four-part harmony, handing him toast.

On his first day back at work, the choir stood at his desk,
Singing, The choir are making his professional life impossible.

Two weeks later his partner left him for an osteopath.
Hannah cannot stand the choir any longer, they sang.

That night he pummelled the choristers with his fists;
He beats the choir in frustration, but though they are bruised

And bleeding at the lip, they sing with redoubled vigour, sang the choir.
Then they sang, He cannot get to sleep, he cannot get to sleep,

He cannot get to sleep, in perfect fifths, until he fell asleep.
In time you may even grow fond of us, they sang, quietly.

– Read more on Poem a Month

Buy ‘The Necropolis Boat’ via the Book Depository now for £4.98 (free p&p).

[Day 21 on the Poetry Advent calendar is the very appropriate ‘Solstice’ by Russell J. Turner]

 

Day 20: Small Press Advent Calendar: NINE ARCHES PRESS

day 20This could be the last post in this advent calendar if the world does come to an end tomorrow. If, however, it turns out it’s just the end of the Mayan Calendar, then perhaps the absence of the absence of the world will itself possess a kind of weight. Either way, you’ll obviously be needing to get your hand on the book behind door 20, which is…

‘Absence has a Weight of its Own’ by Daniel Sluman, Published by Nine Arches Press

Nine Arches Press believe that literature is something vital and precious, and it’s this, above all else, that they hope their publications will reflect  both their aesthetics and content. Their tastes are eclectic and wide ranging, so rather than defining a ‘type’ or genre of work they want to publish they look for high quality work with a unique voice all of its own.

They publish poetry pamphlets and poetry books, as well as short story pamphlets and Under the Radar magazine, and look for work that they believe will excite, surprise or delights their readers.

Their aim is to continue to build their reputation as publishers of well-crafted and innovative contemporary poetry and short story collections.

‘Absence has a weight of its own’ by Daniel Sluman, is the book I put in this calendar to sit with you through your new year regrets. It’s described by Nine Arches as:

Absence has a weight of its own Cover copy.jpg-for-web-normal“an unflinching study of serious illness, sex, death and decadence […] at times provocative and by turns tender and wry. Frailties and vices are held up for inspection in a ruined landscape of disappointing highs, hung-over regrets and head-on collisions, haunted by figures such as Roman, an unrepentant and debauched womaniser. In the aftermath, real love and hope remain stubbornly, emerging into the sunlight of an unexpected new day.

There are loads of extremely good reviews for this book on Nine Arches which you should go now and read and get all tempted and then buy this book, but just to start you off, I’ll included one from poet Luke Kennard here:

“This poetry of love and trauma is deeply, generously intelligent without ever becoming knowing. There is no joke here: even the most ambitiously strange analogies are counterweighted by a tonne of hard-won pathos. Daniel Sluman’s imagery is jealous-makingly good and his fiercely witty, lyrical voice charts a course between the plainspoken and the precision engineered epiphany. On any given rainy morning, empty afternoon or night, they turn you sideways. You find yourself possessed like Roman (more Sluman’s sporadically illuminated sidekick than Berryman’s Henry) by the conviction, in the glittering mystery of a mundane street, that ‘we’re walking narratives’.”

‘Absence has a weight of its own’ by Daniel Sluman is available to buy now direct from Nine Arches Press for £8.99.

[Day 20 on the Poetry Advent Calendar is ‘Swithland Woods’ by Karen Powell]

Day 19: Small Press Advent Calendar: SHOESTRING PRESS

day 19Living on Anglesey this summer has found me writing a lot of poems about stones, which drew my eye to this next title and I’m glad it did, as the book is peopled with characters as strong and striking as rocks. Day 19 is…

‘Swallowing Stones’ by Carole Coates, Published by Shoestring Press

Shoestring Press specialise in publishing poetry sequences and collections, usually by established but unfashionable poets or poets they are introducing to British readers for the first time (though they may be well known elsewhere).

They pay particular attention to layout and illustrative material which is legitimately part of the verbal text or vigorously enhances it. As well as publishing works by UK poets, they have a selection of poetry and fiction by Greek and Australian authors.

‘Swallowing Stones’ by Carole Coates is a verse narrative of a fictional dystopia, peopled by an astonishing range of voices.

'Swallowing Stones' by Carole CoatesSet in the far-off, imaginary, but very real country of Kor, she explores the relation between individuals and the culture in which they have to live, through a range of different voices, incidents and landscapes.

Carole Coates is a fine poet with a novelist’s eye.  In Swallowing Stones she creates an utterly convincing world and peoples it with vivid characters whose voices – sometimes shocking, sometimes lyrical, always perfectly judged – are woven together in this powerful and moving sequence.” –Elizabeth Burns

You can buy ‘Swallowing Stones’ by Carole Coates direct from Shoestring Press for £9.00 (via their mail order form, or if that’s a bit complicated, then head over to Waterstones).

[Day 19 on the Poetry Advent Calendar is joining us on the previous ‘tea’ theme, with ‘Marriage Tea’ by Angela Topping.]